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Opinions of Monday, 26 October 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Samia Can’t Be President Because…

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Oct. 16, 2015

The People’s National Convention (PNC) cannot merge with the rump-Convention People’s Party (CPP) because while, indeed, the two minor Ghanaian political parties claim to embody the faux-Marxist ideology of Ghana’s first postcolonial leader, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, the Hilla (Babini) Limann-founded PNC is decidedly a modern democratic liberalist party. At least, this is what it was when the University of London- and Sorbonne-educated former Popular-Front Party (PFP) member and abortive parliamentarian headed the PNC. It is widely known that Dr. Limann was gunning to represent the people of his home constituency, in the Sissala district of the Upper-West Region in 1979, when he was drafted by Mr. Imoru Egala, late, his brother-in-law and founding-father of the erstwhile People’s National Party (PNP). Mr. Egala had been disqualified from contesting the presidency because, like many old Nkrumah associates, or guards, as they were commonly known, he had been mired in some sort of political criminality.

The Daily Dispatch newspaper’s managing-editor is right to pointedly observe that Ms. Samia Yaba Nkrumah, the daughter of President Nkrumah by his Egyptian trophy wife, Fathia, can never become a democratically elected president of Ghana. Unfortunately, the reason given by Mr. Ben Ephson to back up his assertion does not quite gibe with the one that I have in mind. Well, according to Mr. Ephson, “unlike developed democracies where political dynasties are an easy possibility, Ghanaians will not tolerate such a circumstance” (see “Samia Can’t Ever Be President of Ghana – Ephson” Class FM / 10/7/15). I suppose Mr. Ephson was thinking about the United States and, in particular, the Adams, Kennedy and Bush families when he made the remark attributed to him. Were he to closely examine the cited cases in point, Mr. Ephson would have clearly noticed that what we have here, in the United States, scarcely approximates the kind of political dynasties one witnesses in Third-World countries like India, Togo, Gabon, DR-Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Kenya. Mr. Ephson may also well have been thinking of the presidential-election bid of Mrs. Hillary Clinton, whose husband, Mr. William (Bill) Blye Jefferson Clinton, was president of the United States from 1992-2000.

It remains to be seen whether Mrs. Clinton, who fiercely battled the now lame-duck President Barack H. Obama in 2008 for the Democratic Party’s nomination, will be lucky this second time around. It is also rather amusing for the Daily Dispatch editor to presume Ghanaians to be decidedly against the possible formation or establishment of a “democratic” political dynasty or dynasties in this country. Otherwise, why would Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom have so suavely and strategically courted Ms. Nkrumah? Or has Mr. Ephson so soon forgotten that it was the founding-proprietor of the so-called Progressive People’s Party (PPP) who, like Dr. J. B. Danquah to Nkrumah, introduced the late deposed dictator’s daughter to the mainstream of Ghanaian politics? Indeed, the one major problem with Samia Yaba Nkrumah was best articulated by her younger brother, Sekou, when the latter publicly observed that his sister grievously lacked the kind of temperamental gravitas that comes with presidential leadership.

In other words, for Sekou Nkrumah, Samia is too emotionally infantile and intellectually callow and jejune for the job. I also sincerely don’t believe that short of dully, albeit glibly, reciting some of her father’s material achievements, that Ms. Nkrumah has any practically worthwhile agenda for our national development. Samia’s overweening pride and crass arrogance – and she does not seem to have learned any meaningful lessons since then – was very likely what caused her to lose the Jomoro constituency seat in her father’s home district in the Nzema area of the Western Region. I am also not quite certain that this late in the twenty-first century, Ghanaians would have any appetite for an Italian first gentleman, were Ms. Nkrumah to be elected President of Ghana.
Needless to say, her father was able to get away with falsely preaching about a proud African personality and heritage in the 1950s because even as an acquaintance of mine recently put it, 1950s were the Benighted Days of Our Follies – “Abagyimi Bere” – when the average Ghanaian voter woefully lacked the sort of enlightenment and sophistication routinely associated with the denizens of a modern democratic political culture.